The Game Of Hockey

The Rink
There are two standard sizes for hockey rinks: one used primarily in North America, the other used in the rest of the world.

Hockey rinks in most of the world follow the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) specifications, which is 61 metres (200 ft) × 30.5 metres (100 ft) with a corner radius of 8.5 metres (28 ft). The distance from the end boards to the nearest goal line is 4 metres (13 ft). The distance from each goal line to the nearest blue line is 17.3 metres (57 ft). The distance between the two blue lines is also 17.3 metres (57 ft). Telford Ice Rink is 184ft by 85ft.

North American
Most North American rinks follow the National Hockey League (NHL) specifications of 200 feet (61 m) × 85 feet (26 m) with a corner radius of 28 feet (8.5 m). The distance from the end boards to the nearest goal line is 11 feet (3.4 m). The NHL attacking zones are expanded, with blue lines 64 feet (20 m) from the goal line and 50 feet (15 m) apart.

The rink specifications originate from the ice surface of the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, constructed in 1862, where the first indoor game was played in 1875. Its ice surface measured 204 feet (62 m) × 80 feet (24 m). The curved corners are considered to originate from the design of the Montreal Arena, also in Montreal, constructed in 1898.

The Puck
The puck is made of vulcanized rubber (or another approved material), and is one inch thick, and spans three inches in diameter. The weight of the puck can range from 5.5 ounces to six ounces. Pucks that are not in game play are kept frozen at the penalty bench, under supervision of an off-ice official.

The Game
In the English Premier League, games consist of three twenty-minute periods. If a match is tied at the end of regulation time, then the teams play an overtime period of no longer than five minutes, with just four ‘out’ skaters. If a team scores during the overtime period, the game is over and the scoring team is the winner. If no goal is scored in overtime during regular season, then it is down to a penalty shootout follows to decide the winner.

Intermissions between periods last twelve and fifteen minutes.
Each team is permitted one thirty-second timeout during the game.

The Stats
+/- – Plus/Minus – A player is awarded a “plus” when he is on the ice for an even strength or short handed goal his team scores, and is awarded a “minus” if he is on the ice when his team is scored upon
ADV – Total Advantages – number of power plays a team had
ATOI – Average time on ice per game
ENG – Empty Net Goals
G – Goals
GA – Goals Against
GAA – 60 minute Goals Against Average (goaltenders)
GF – Goals For
GM – Games – number of games team has played
GP – Games Played – individual player has participated in
GPI – Games Played In – Won-Lost-Overtime record is based upon which goaltender was playing when the winning goal is scored
GWG – Game Winning Goals
L – Losses
MINS – Minutes Played
NO – Player’s jersey/sweater number
PIM – Penalties in Minutes
POS – Position – C=Center; LW=Left Wing; RW=Right Wing; D=Defenceman; G=Goaltender
PTS – Points – for individual player=total of goals + assists: 1 point is awarded for each goal scored, 1 point for each assist. For teams=Total points of wins+overtime losses: 2 points are awarded for each win, 1 point for each overtime loss for teams.
PCTG – Percentage – actual vs. possible – shooting %=goals/shots
Player – Player’s name
PPGF – Power Play Goals For – goals scored while team has man advantage
PP – Power Plays
S – Shots
SA – Shots Against
SH – Short Handed Goals – Goals scored while being a man down
SO – Shutouts
SV% – Save Percentage (goaltenders)
W – Wins

Hockey Terms

Attack: skating with the puck, or hitting it, towards your opponent’s goal.

Attacking Zone: this is the end section of the ice in which a team is attempting to score. In other terms, it is the section of ice between the opponent’s blue line and goal line.

Back Check: this is an attempt to hinder an opponent heading towards and into the defending zone. Fans see it as a technique of skating back to the defensive zone to protect their goal.

Breakaway: this is an offensive rush in which the player ‘breaks’ towards the opposing goal with the puck and no defenders are between him and the goalie.

Breakout: this is the play used by the attacking team to move the puck out of its own zone and up the ice toward the opponent’s goal.

Changing on the Fly: this is when players on the bench swop places with players on the ice, while the play is going on.

Crease: this is the blue area directly in front of the goal; it is usually marked off by red lines.

Face-off: this is the equivalent of a kick-off in football – dropping of the puck between two opposing players to begin play.

Forecheck: this is used to check an opponent in his end of the rink, thus preventing an offensive rush, often while obtaining control of the puck.

Pinning the Puck: this is a tactic of pinning the puck against the boards with the stick or skates, in order to stop the play. This situation always results in a face-off.

Hat-trick: the scoring of three goals by one player in one game.

Man Advantage: this occurs when a team has one (or more) players on the ice than its opponent, usually as the result of a penalty.

Neutral Zone: this is the central area between the two blue lines.

Penalty Kill: this is the act of preventing goals while playing shorthanded.

Powerplay: this occurs when a team holds a one-or two-man advantage because of an opponent’s penalties.

Rush: this term is used to describe a team advancing quickly up the ice.

Slapshot: describes hitting the puck with the blade of the stick after a full back swing.

Zamboni: this is the machine used to “clean” or resurface the ice sheet.

The Players

A team consists of anything up to 22 players (20 skaters and two goaltenders).

One player on each team is appointed as Captain. Each club may also appoint up to two Alternate (Assistant) Captains who will then assume the privileges of the Captain when he is not on the ice. During the game, only the captain and alternate (assistant) captains may talk with the referee.

When both teams are at full strength, there are six players on the ice at a time for each side, with one of those players being a netminder. The netminder may be “pulled” and replaced by another skater if the team desires. If there is a penalty, then a team may lose up to two players for on-ice play for that duration. During overtime, teams are only allowed five players on the ice at one time, including the goaltender.


These players operate up and down the middle of the ice. They lead their team’s attack by passing the puck between his two wings to set up a goal. Defensively, they look to keep the play from leaving the attacking zone. As the play approaches his own goal, it is the Centre’s job to hustle and break up the opposing team’s plays.

These guys follow the action up and down the rink on either side of the Centre. Left and right wings pass back and forth, while trying to position themselves for a shot on goal.


The two defencemen try to stop the incoming plays before any chance of scoring. They will block shots, clear the puck from their own area and try to keep opposing forwards away from the front of the goal. Offensively, they will move the puck up the ice, pass to the forwards and follow play into the attacking zone.

As the last line of defence, the netminder takes – and tries to stop – shots from everyone. This player’s challenge is to stop the puck from entering his goal. Netminders can use any piece of equipment or any part of his body – even the head – to protect his net. They are the only player on the ice who is allowed to cover up the puck to stop play.



There can be up to four officials on the ice – two linesmen and two referees, supervise each game. More commonly in the UK the senior leagues have two or three officials.  Each game also has four off-ice officials: the game timekeeper, official scorer and two goal judges.

The referees have overall supervision of the game and control over all the other officials. In the case of disputes, the referee’s judgment is final. The referee also calls the penalties and determines the goal-scorer of each goal scored. In addition, the referee drops the puck for face-offs at the start of the period and then after a goal.

The linesman is generally responsible for calling infractions of the rules, such as icing, offsides, too many men on the ice, and even handling the puck with the hands. The linesman will also drop the puck for face-offs, except for after a goal and the start of each period.

Types of Penalty

Minor Penalty
A minor penalty against a player other than the netminder will result in that player being taken off the ice for two minutes or until the other team scores. In the case of a minor penalty being called against a netminder, then another player on the ice will serve his time in the penalty box.

Double Minor Penalty
When a referee decides that more than a minor penalty is required, but not a major penalty. An example is when it results in injury or there is an attempt to injure. They are served as two minor penalties totalling four minutes.

Major Penalty
A major penalty is called when the referee decides a greater degree of violence or deliberate severity was used. Kneeing and spearing are almost always major penalties. A major penalty includes five minutes in the penalty box.

High-Sticking – striking an opponent with your stick above shoulder level.

Boarding – checking an opponent from behind into the boards.

Holding – using your hands to grasp an opponent or part of his equipment.

Charging – taking more than three strides or jumping before checking an opponent.

Hooking – impeding the progress of a player by hooking him with the blade of the stick.

Cross-Checking – hitting an opponent with both hands on the stick and then extending the arms while the check is being delivered.

Elbowing – using an elbow to impede an opponent.

Interference – impeding progress of another player who doesn’t have the puck or who is pursuing the puck. Also for knocking an opponent’s fallen stick out of his reach.

Misconduct – when a player uses abusive language or gestures, unsportsmanlike conduct, or fails to follow an officials’ orders.

Spearing – when a player thrusts his stick like a spear at his opponent.

Slashing – when a player swings his stick and strikes an opponent.

Tripping – when a player trips an opponent with his stick or any part of his body.

Roughing – when a player shoves or is involved in a minor scuffle.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – when a player uses abusive language or gestures, unsportsmanlike conduct, or fails to follow an officials’ orders.

Fighting – when at least one player punches or attempts to punch an opponent repeatedly or when two players wrestle in such a manner that makes it difficult for the Linesmen to intervene and separate them.

Main Rules

When the whistle blows, then it is usually for the violation of these two main rules: Off-side and Icing. Violations of these rules do not mean time in the penalty box and the puck is simply dropped for a face-off.


Simply put:
If you are skating towards the goal at which you are shooting and cross the blue line closest to that goal before the puck crosses that line, then you will be called for off-side once you touch the puck.

Why this is a rule:
The off-side rule encourages action by stopping a player from “camping” in front of the net.

What is called:
The play stops immediately upon the linesman’s whistle and the teams have a face-off in the neutral zone (at the face-off dot closest to the offending team’s attacking zone).


Simply put:
If you shoot or pass the puck from behind the centre line, and the puck passes untouched over the goal line and is then touched by a member of the other team, icing is called (unless your team is shorthanded).

Why this is a rule:
This rule prevents a team from stalling by constantly shooting the puck the length of the ice.

What is called:
Play is stopped and the puck is returned to the other end of the ice for a face-off in the offending team’s zone.